Particolor Persians

The Parti-Color Division of CFA is truly unique among the Persian divisions: as a division made up entirely of females, it is the only division that cannot reproduce itself without going outside its division. As a result, the Parti-Colors were not taken as seriously, perhaps, as they might have been in the early years of the fancy. The problem may have been partly one of failure to understand the working of color genetics as they apply to sex-linked red. As late as 1939, Mrs. E. Soame wrote about breeding blue-creams and noted that they were, "caused by interbreeding Blues with Creams or Reds in the past, it's hoped to breed Blue-Cream to Blue-Cream in the future. That is providing we produce some males." (Gebhardt, 1979, p. 223.) That day, of course, never came. Probably because of this misunderstanding about color genetics, our lovely Parti-Color girls did not always get the respect they deserved in the early years. Harrison Weir, writing in the late 19th century, was convinced that tortoiseshell was not an original Persian color, since there were no records of any Persians of that color having been brought into England. Because this was a common color in the domestic cats of England, he surmised that the tortoiseshell Persians had originated through accidental matings between black Persians and mongrel tortoiseshells. As he included black, blue, red, and cream among the original Persian colors, his suspicions of the "common" origin of the tortoiseshell and the blue tortoiseshell, as the blue-cream was then known, seem unfounded.

Beginnings in CFA

Looking back through CFA's history, the tortoiseshell and blue-cream clearly have always played an important role. CFA began its Stud Book and Register in 1906 and the first cat listed in the Stud Book proper was a tortoiseshell Persian, Molly Bond. The first blue-cream, Blue Vixen, bred and owned by Mrs. F. Tompkins, was registered as "AOC" (Any Other Color) in 1908 and appears in Volume 3 of the CFA Stud Book. The next blue-cream, Madison Aurora, was not registered until 1910, and that year also saw the first blue-cream listed in the stud books as an import: Thibeta, imported by Mrs. James Chester of Lyndhurst, NJ. The old stud books also have cats registered as blue tortoiseshells who may well have been blue-creams; although generally cats listed this way at that time had one red parent.

On May 19, 1914, the CFA Board held a special meeting at which the official longhair standard was adopted. For the first time there was a written color standard for tortoiseshells as well as for whites, blacks, blues, oranges (reds), creams, brown tabbies, silver tabbies, and orange tabbies. For some reason blue-creams were not included and would have to continue to compete in the AOC class along with the chinchillas, shaded silvers, smokes, and calicos. The blue-creams did not receive their own color standard until 1932.

Early Tortoiseshells

CFA established the title of Grand Champion in 1930, but prior to 1971, only eleven tortoiseshells had achieved the title. In fact, the first tortoiseshell Persian to become a grand champion, GC Nor-Mont's Duchess, owned and bred by Mrs. Merald Hoag, did not do so until 1960. The second tortie to grand was GC Kohinoor Kathleen of Moonfleet, bred by CFA judge Mary Kate Carroll and originally owned by Marjorie Rogers until her death in 1960. "Kathleen" survived the auto accident that killed Mrs. Rogers unharmed, and went to live with Mr. and Mrs. Ben Ehrhardt, who showed the cat to her grand at the age of six. In 1964, a third tortie, GC Astra's Monita, bred and owned by Agnes Bradley, became a grand. Monita was the only tortie in a litter of five, with four white littermates. She was the grandam of the fourth tortie to grand, GC Astra's Gypsy (1966), also bred and owned by Agnes Bradley. In 1967, another tortie granded, GC Birch Haven Tike of Ben-Mar, bred by Mrs. Nina Duff and owned by Mr. and Mrs. Ben Ehrhardt. Five torties granded in 1968: GC Astra's Firefly (Br: Agnes Bradley, Ow: Hazel Rand), a littermate of GC Astra's Gypsy; GC Cherubino Twice Blessed (Br/Ow: Mr. & Mrs. Paul Foster); GC Birch Haven Pan-Z-Face of Catalot (Br: Nina Duff, Ow: Leslie Hunter); GC Woodkiff Calypso of Castilia (Ow: Mrs. Marcena Myers); and GC Misty Mornin' Meg (Br/Ow: Charles Milwain & William Nix). "Meg" went on to become cat of the year for 1969, the first tortie to do so. In 1970, there was one new tortie grand, GC Glenorchy Merl (Br/Ow: Mrs. F. W. Campbell Clarendon).

Early Blue-creams

The first blue-cream grand champion was GC Rosedere De Anne of Nor-Mont, bred by Emma Payne and owned by Mrs. Merald Hoag. "De Anne" was born in June of 1947 and granded at the Alamo City Cat Club show in February of 1951, having previously made points toward her grand in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio. The first Parti-Color and only blue-cream to become Cat of the Year was GC Larks-Purr Precious of Castilia (Ow: Mrs. Marcena Myers & Mrs. Merald Hoag), who was Cat of the Year for 1966. Other blue-cream grands before 1971 were GC Nor-Mont Charm (Br/Ow: Mrs. Merald Hoag); GC Bloemhill Miss Iowa (Br/Ow: Mrs. John Bloem); GC Bloemhill Money Moon of Jeannel (Br: Mrs. John Bloem, Ow: Donna Jean Thompson); GC Bloemhill Fancy Free of Wynden (Br: Mrs. John Bloem, Ow: Ann Pevey), a daughter of Miss Iowa, GC Widdington Rosebud of Gaylands, Imp. (Ow: Verner Clum); GC Mar-Geo Princess of Rangemore (Br: Mrs. George Draper, Ow: Dr. & Mrs. Rex Foster); GC PussiWhillow (Ow: Thomas O'Hara); GC Sweet Dream of Kohinoor (Ow: Mary Kate Carroll); GC Hayword's Lolita of Misty Mornin' (Ow: Charles Milwain & William Nix); GC Misty Mornin' Mopsy (Br/Ow: Charles Milwain & William Nix); GC Nor-Mont Bright Star (Br/Ow: Mrs. Merald Hoag); GC Zoda Fleur-De Lys of Toireh (Ow: Mr. & Mrs. David O'Hern); GC Rulor Kandedol of Bloemhill (Ow: Mrs. John Bloehm); GC Skyway's Bo-Peep of Dunhowa (Ow: Wilda Derouin); GC Kirklea Kim of Misty Mornin' (Ow: Charles Milwain & William Nix); GC Ben-Mar Petunia (Br/Ow: Mr. & Mrs. Ben Ehrhardt); GC Hadleigh Coquette of Kane-Kaha (Ow: George Evans); GC Kohinoor Elfin of Kirklea (Br: Mary Kate Carroll, Ow: Charles Milwain & William Nix); GC Merchant's Run Around Sue (Br/Ow: Geraldine & Sharon Merchant); GC Show Me Blueberry Muffin (Ow: Mr. & Mrs. James Frankenburger); GC Stonybrook Paige of Chatalain (Ow: Peggy Otto); GC Bloemhill Brocade of Serendip (Br: Mrs. John Bloem, Ow: Donna Jean Thompson); GC Jan-Dam Sissie (Ow: Ken Aumuller); GC Chatalain Nepeta (Br/Ow: Peggy Otto); GC Erman Nyla of Shawnee (Ow: Nikki Shuttleworth); GC Flo-Sher Princess (Br/Ow: Mr. & Mrs. E.S. Cox); GC Misty Mornin' Be-Bop of Catspurr (Ow: Helen McFadden); GC Misty Mornin' Motif of Arahn (Ow: Seymour Lazerowitz).

This is probably not a complete list of all the blue-creams that granded before 1971, but these 30 blue-cream grands demonstrate that blue-creams have a long tradition of winning. By 1971 they had already come a long way from their beginnings in the AOC class. It is wonderful when listing the early Parti-Color grands, both tortoiseshell and blue-cream, to note the number that were shown by breeders who are still active in the fancy today. Several of these breeders are still producing top show cats.

Modern Parti-Colors

In the years since CFA's current national awards program was begun in 1971, there have been far too many tortoiseshell and blue-cream grands to be able to list them all. In 1971 and 1972, there were no top winners in these colors, but since that time, this has happened only once, in 1992. Certain years stand out as especially strong for torties and blue-creams. In 1978, for example, two torties and one blue-cream made national kitten wins. This was a major accomplishment as kitten wins were limited to top five at that time. The 1980s saw the Parti-Colors doing particularly well. Four times in that decade there were three Parti-Colors in the top championship wins. Perhaps the most noteworthy was 1983, when three blue-creams finished in the top ten, quite an accomplishment. Ten years later, in 1993, three blue-cream kittens made national kitten wins.

A number of Parti-Colors had national wins in more than one year. Two cats had premiership wins in two years: CH, GP, NW Mar-Geo Draper's Daphnie of Tara (Br: Mrs. George Draper, Ow: Jane Carlson) in 1974 and 1975 and GC, GP, NW K'Lane's Emily of Lilibet (Br: Henry & Joann Pillard, Ow: Mr. & Mrs. Gordon Ford) in 1981 and 1982. One cat, GC, GP, NW Ann-Ge Honi Babe of Windborne (Br: Mr. & Mrs. George Beal, Ow: Mr. & Mrs. George Beal & Vicki Dickerson) had both championship and premiership wins: 10th Best Cat in 1985 and 12th Best Cat in Premiership in 1993 (Ow: Carol Hutchings). Seven Parti-Colors had both kitten and championship wins. GC, NW Bryn Mawr Georgie Girl (Br/Ow: Werner, Irene & Mike Kachel) was Best Kitten in 1975 and 2nd Best Cat in 1976. GC, NW Bryn Mawr Parti Girl (Br/Ow: Werner, Irene & Mike Kachel) was 5th Best Kitten in 1978 and 14th Best Cat in 1979. GC, NW Currle Cats Chrissy of Marcus (Br: Kenneth & Lucindy Currle, Ow: Mark Hannon) was 5th Best Kitten in 1980 and 11th Best Cat in 1981. GC, NW Erina's Joy of Q-T Cats (Br: Nora Russo & Marcia & Leon Samuels, Ow: Marcia & Leon Samuels) was 4th Best Kitten in 1981 and 9th Best Cat in 1982. GC, NW Catala's Blaze Starr of Carolot, DM (Br: Jane & Gayden Latture, Ow: Ott & Carolyn Noble) was 7th Best Kitten in 1985 and 8th Best Cat in 1986. The final two cats set records that may stand for some time: GC, NW Kyina Patience of Oakway (Br: Anne & Amanda Bright, Ow: Judy Sturm & Anne & Amanda Bright) has the distinction of having been Best Kitten in 1979 and Best Cat in 1980; GC, GP, NW Mystichill Mighty High (Br: Diane Silverman, Ow: Mark Hannon & Diane Silverman) was 3rd Best Kitten in 1986, 3rd Best Cat in 1987, and Best Cat in Premiership in 1991. She is the only Parti-Color to achieve national wins in all three award categories. Many of the cats on the list of Parti-Color national winners have close relatives who have also made national wins, but several stand out for their close relationship to other Parti-Color winners. GC, NW Bryn Mawr Georgie Girl, 2nd Best Cat in 1976, was bred to another national winner, GC, NW Tra-Mar Happy Fella of Jensen (Br: Dayle & Marion Hall, Ow: Clark & Lois Jensen), a black and 20th Best Cat in 1979 to produce GC, NW Bryn Mawr Parti Girl who became 14th Best Cat in 1979.

GC, NW Goliada Melissa (Br/Ow: Michael & Nancy Petersen), 4th Best Cat in 1980, was bred back to her color-bred blue father, GC Ariane Ambrose of Goliada, DM (Br: Dulcie Percival, Ow: Michael & Nancy Petersen). Ambrose was a British import who would become CFA's first blue male DM. This mating produced GC, NW Goliada Merissa (Br/Ow: Michael & Nancy Petersen), 6th Best Cat in 1983. GC, NW Myshadows Baughdy Lady (Br/Ow: Ann Sones), 8th Best Cat in 1987, and GC, NW Myshadows Madame (Br/Ow: Ann Sones), 6th Best Cat in 1989, were both out of GC, NW Bar-B Satin Doll of Myshadows (Br: Barbara Thal, Ow: Ann Sones), 19th Best Cat in 1985, bred to GC Myshadows Here Comes the Sun (Br/Ow: Ann Sones). "Baughdy Lady" is also the grandam of GC, NW Spellbound Estee Lauder (Br/Ow: Bob & Diane Deibert), 12th Best Cat in 1994. In the first 25 years of the CFA national awards, there have been 33 championship awards that have gone to Parti-Colors, 16 to torties and 17 to blue-creams; 22 kitten awards, 9 to torties and 13 to blue-creams; and 19 premiership awards, 5 to torties and 14 to blue-creams.

The Parti-Color Division has had an amazing number of cats receive the title of Distinguished Merit for producing five grands. From 1982 to the present, 77 Parti-Colors have become DMs, 54 tortoiseshells and 23 blue-creams. This compares very well to 53 blacks and 25 copper-eyed white Persian DMs during the same time period. The Parti-Color with the most grand offspring as of January 1995 was GC Mystichill Too Hot to Handle, DM, a tortoiseshell bred by Diane Silverman and owned by Judy and Greg Brocato, who has produced 12 grands.

Among the many top Parti-Color winners, only one has also become a DM - GC, NW Catala's Blaze Starr of Carolot. Her grand offspring include GC, NW Carolot Starr Dust (Br/Ow: Carolyn & Ott Noble), a black male who was 24th Best Cat in 1991. Two other cats that have made Parti-Color Division wins have also become DMs: GC Marhei Fruitcake (Br/Ow: Charles & Susan Helmke), 2nd Best of Breed/Division in 1992, and GC Jlor's Bonnie Blue Chip of Barmont (Br: Lori & Joanne Pavlik Ow: Bob Baratto), 2nd Best of Breed/Division in 1993. "Bonnie" has the additional distinction of having produced three national winners, one in each of the litters it took her to become a DM.

Chocolate Tortoiseshells and Lilac-Creams

Although CFA recognized pointed Himalayans in 1957, the first solid color chocolate longhair was not imported to North America until 1963. In 1972, Pat Horan bred the first chocolate tortoiseshell longhair in America, Miversnit's Marmelade. In 1973, the first lilac-cream longhair, Miversnit's Ambrosia arrived. In 1981, CFA created two divisions, one for pointed colors and one for solid colors, within the Himalayan breed. In 1984, the Himalayans were merged with the Persians. At that time, a Himalayan Persian Division was created for the pointed colors and the solid color chocolates and lilacs became part of the Solid Color Persian Division. Finally, in 1993, chocolate tortoiseshells and lilac-creams were accepted for championship status within the Parti-Color Persian Division.

Chocolate tortoiseshells and lilac-creams are produced by the addition of a single recessive gene, the browning gene (symbolized "b"), to the tortoiseshell and the blue-cream. Thus, the chocolate tortoiseshell is a tortoiseshell with two doses of the browning gene, one from each parent, while the lilac-cream is a blue-cream with a double dose of the browning gene. Thus, the chocolate tortoiseshell is the familiar (black) tortoiseshell plus the recessive pair (bb), while lilac-cream is blue-cream plus the recessive pair (bb). Just as the dilute gene (dd) changes black to blue, the browning gene (bb) changes black to brown (chocolate). However, unlike the dilute gene, the browning gene does not change red to cream. So, chocolate tortoiseshells, for example, exhibit the same red patching or intermingling as the "black" tortoiseshell. This is not to say that the chocolate gene has no effect on the red gene; rather, the chocolate gene somehow seems to enhance the color and make it richer than the normal red or cream. The cream on a lilac-cream is a very different shade of cream than one would see on a blue-cream that does not carry the browning gene, giving the lilac-cream a pinkish glow. In fact, carriers of the browning gene are not quite the same shade of color as non-carriers; instead, the coat color is often somewhat distorted. For example, black carriers may appear dark sable rather than black, red carriers are too, too red, and cream carriers appear hot.

To date, no chocolate tortoiseshells or lilac-creams have attained the title of grand champion; however, between May 1993 and December 1995, four chocolate tortoiseshells attained the title of champion. These groundbreaking cats are CH Bevenlee's Chocolate Mosaic (Br/Ow: Beverly McKinnerney), CH Gladevalley Sassafras (Br/Ow: Karen Roderick), CH Warkatz Small Town Girl (Br/Ow: Alma Ward), and CH Yo-Mans Memories Are Made-Of-This (Br/Ow: Myrtle Youmans). During this same time period, five lilac-creams attained the title of champion: CH Bevenlee's Glorious Sun N Lilacs (Br/Ow: Beverly McKinnerney), CH Fursaflyin Sweet Pea of Krystalpaw (Br: Linda Bonetti, Ow: Beverley Abramson), CH Keltset Cherry Blossom of Kim-Ball (Br: Louis Wheeler, Ow: Laura Barton), CH Kim-Ball Peaches of Shurwin (Br: Laura Turner, Ow: Pamela Heath), and CH Lilypurr's Althaea (Br/Ow: Helene & Joseph Wonoski).

The Standard Changes

In England, the color standard for the tortoiseshell calls for a patched cat and the color standard for the blue-cream calls for a cat with both colors intermingled. Until 1995, the CFA color standards for the different Parti-Colors had remained essentially unchanged since their initial acceptance and all called for patching. In addition, the color description for tortoiseshell called for patches of both red and cream plus a blaze on the face. With the 1995 show season, the color descriptions for all Parti-Colors were revised to make both patches and areas of intermingled colors acceptable, since it is impossible to breed for a particular Parti-Color pattern (as opposed to Bi-Colors). Also, in 1995, the tortoiseshell color description was revised to eliminate any reference to cream, since tortoiseshells cannot actually exhibit cream as they do not have two dilution genes.

The typical tortoiseshell is a patchwork of black and red, usually in a random mixture and in many cases forming a fine-grained mosaic. In other cats, however, there are relatively large areas of clear black and red. If you look closely at the red areas on such a tortoiseshell, you may see that they resemble the coat of a red tabby. This explains the very common, but incorrect, statement that the tortoiseshell exhibits the three colors - black, red, and cream. The cream areas correspond to the pale parts of the red tabby's coat. The colors can look quite distinct when separated by an area of black, but this is only a result of the fact that the non-agouti gene is ineffective on red. A cat either has the dilute gene, or it does not - the dilute gene changes black to blue and red to cream (Wright & Waiters, 1980, p. 38).


It has always seemed a bit silly to claim that particular colors of Persians have distinctive personality traits, but tortoiseshells and blue-creams do seem to have a certain special attitude. They may be pansy faces, but they generally refuse to be shrinking violets or wallflowers. The typical Parti-Color has a very regal attitude and will usually manage to claim the choice pillow on the couch, or even better a place on the bed next to your head, but they will always be in the center of things when something really exciting is going on. They are generally fastidious, but may object to the attention you wish to give them until they are in the mood, at which time they can be quite demanding. They are usually a delight to show, since they are likely to be bright, alert, and eager to show off their best features. They tend to take travel in stride and assume the crowds at the show are there to see them.

1. Bloem, Lillias. "A cat may look on a king." 1967 CFA Yearbook. Cat Fanciers' Association.
2. Bradley, Agnes. "Notes on Tortoiseshell Persians." 1971 CFA Yearbook. Cat Fanciers' Association.
3. Fox, B. J. "Chocolate mania in Himalayan/Persians." 1994 CFA Yearbook. Cat Fanciers' Association.
4. Gebhardt, Richard H., Grace Pond, & Dr. Ivor Raleigh (Eds.). A Standard Guide to Cat Breeds. New York: McGraw Hill, 1979.
5. "Our early years." 1959 CFA Yearbook. Cat Fanciers' Association.
6. "Our early years (Part III)." 1960 CFA Yearbook. Cat Fanciers' Association.
7. Pond, Grace (Ed.). The Cat Encyclopedia. New York: Crown Publishers, 1972.
8. Robinson, Roy. Genetics for Cat Breeders (3rd ed.). London: Pergamon Press, 1991.
9. Thompson,Will& Eric Wickham-Ruffle. The Complete Persian. New York: Howell Book House, 1993.
10. Wright, Michael & Sally Walters (Eds.). The Book of the Cat. New York: Summit Books, 1980.

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